Peacekeepers would maintain Kyrgyzstan’s sovereignty – former PM

There has been talk about a coming peace since April, but people are still being gunned down on the street. This is not what is called stability, acknowledged former Kyrgyz Prime Minister Feliks Kulov to RT.

RT: Just two months have passed since the popular uprising that deposed the former president Bakiyev. Now we are seeing violence in the south of Kyrgyzstan. What is the pretext to this crisis?

FK: I think that there is a direct link. The people who used to be in power could not reconcile themselves with the fact. According to the latest data, mercenaries have been hired to attack the Uzbeks and the Kyrgyz to provoke interethnic skirmishes. They coped with the task, because all the interethnic issues, just like the divide between the rich and the poor, are always sensitive issues. These are hot buttons – if you press them, they give an immediate response. Therefore, these were definitely provocations. Unfortunately, they have achieved the desired results.

RT: Who is personally to blame for this violence we are seeing now?

FK: First and foremost, it is Zhanysh Bakiyev who is responsible. He is the president’s brother. He is suspected of planting drugs on our former parliamentary speaker. He suspected of the murder of Gennady Pavluk, an independent journalist. In a word, he has a long criminal trail.

RT: President Bakiyev’s son has been detained in the UK. What kind of outcome can we see from that?

FK: It looks like he arrived in London deliberately, as he had prepared his lawyers beforehand – he had obviously prepared his legal defense. We hope that he will not be extradited to Kyrgyzstan for now and he will stay in London. He wants to legalize himself somehow and to make the court believe he is not guilty. The extradition procedure in London is pretty complicated. It can be complicated even more by the fact that the government here is not legitimate. The general prosecutor is not legitimate. He is to be appointed after being presented by the president and approved by the parliament. Therefore, the general prosecutor does not have legitimate status. They obviously hope that the legal procrastination will make it possible for him to stay there, just like Zakayev, Berezovsky, Chichvarkin and others, being officially under investigation but not being extradited. He obviously hopes that good lawyers will help him legalize himself in Great Britain.

RT: The interim government is calling to external forces, including Russia, to provide peacekeepers to come to Kyrgyzstan. What kind of outcome would that have?

FK: Not only is it possible. We need it to happen. In order to achieve stability we would need forces that would, at least in some areas, hold back the armed groups allowing our own law enforcement to neutralize them. These armed groups are a real threat to peace in the region. The peacekeepers do not have to take part in military operations. They would only be there to secure certain objects, areas and settlements. There would be no threat to the country’s sovereignty. Some people say Kyrgyzstan would lose its independence if peacekeepers came in. This is nonsense. I can cite an example from 1990. I was a superintendent then. And in that case peacekeepers helped us gain sovereignty by preserving peace. So a peacekeeping operation, I think, would be an important prerequisite for maintaining our sovereignty.

RT: The CSTO have agreed to send vehicles and fuel to Kyrgyzstan. But as for the peacekeepers – they are not sending them now. Do you think that if the situation gets any worse their opinion would change?

FK: I think they don’t yet have enough information to make that decision. Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, has said the CSTO’s actions will have to be harsh but remain within the framework of the law, using the measures that CSTO member states have at their disposal. This makes me optimistic. I think peacekeepers can be brought in under certain conditions. It would be one of the main conditions for peace. I do not view the CSTO’s answer as a refusal to bring in peacekeeping forces.

RT: What are the differences between what is happening now and what was happening five years ago during the Tulip Revolution in 2005?

FK: The motives were probably the same. People objected to a single family clan governing the country. A lot of people spoke against it openly. I had to make a statement about it when the president’s son was appointed head of the Central Agency. I officially called that a risky step. The president endangered a lot of things by putting his son in power. At the same time, if his son had been unable to fulfill the duties of Central Agency director that would lead to the collapse of the whole Bakiyev clan. This was my official position. A lot of people expressed their opinions about it back then, but the general message was always the same: if the family government continues to grow it will lead the country to a downfall. That was what happened.

It was one of the reasons, one of the main causes of aggravation. There had to be a background for it of course. If the country had been flourishing the people may have put up with it. But since the people were poor and this family had the huge influence it had. It became a very negative factor.

RT: Some say that the violence we are seeing now is a struggle for power and money without any ideology at stake. What is your opinion on that?

FK: The government has an ideology. They want a new constitution that would restrict a single person from having as much power as the current constitution allows. This is the essence of the interim government’s agenda. They are also trying to find the cash flows that went to the Bakiyev family and shut those cash flows down, making the money that they did not earn go to the state treasury. I think the people will in time judge whether they have been successful. We have already seen discrediting information about members of the interim government sharing the money they had exempted from these sources among themselves. Time will bring clarity.

RT: In your opinion what should be done to stabilize the situation in the south of Kyrgyzstan?

FK: There is talk about a coming peace. Governors in some regions have been reporting that their regions are stabilizing, that the nights are calm. This gives some interim government officials a reason to speak out against bringing in more peacekeeping forces and say that they can handle the situation. We have been hearing this since April 11th. Can we really be sure that a period of calm is coming? The chaos that we had on our hands had to settle down eventually, because people can’t live without water, electricity, medicine or bread. People have to work. So naturally it had to calm down as time passed. But what kind of peace would we have with armed people walking the streets, refugees at the borders, with homes destroyed? We would need builders to build new houses. Who would then protect these builders’ interests? Humanitarian aid is not reaching certain ethnic groups. Can we call this stability? Sure there are no firefights in the street. Large groups of people aren’t getting gunned down. But it’s not stability. It is a condition of formlessness that could degrade into a threat at any minute. This is why we need peacekeeping forces to be brought in as soon as possible. If this doesn’t happen, then the authority has to work to handle this on its own. I have said this many times and even drafted a decree that would allow people to use weapons against marauders and anyone who threatens people. It has even come to pass that soldiers have been giving their weapons to third parties, although by drill regulations they have to protect their weapons and use them when attacked. There is a clear definition for what is happening: a mess, anarchy. We have to enforce the law, first and foremost. The law demands that bandits who attack citizens be punished. It is that simple.